LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Officials Thursday considered a proposal that would require L.A. County drivers to pay extra to use certain freeways during peak hours.
Under the proposal considered by the board of directors for the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, carpool lanes would be converted to toll lanes, and drivers would be taxed based on the number of miles they drive. There would also be a fee for entering certain parts of the city.
Metro board member and L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis expressed serious concerns about the proposal.
“L.A. County’s poorest households already spend a disproportionate amount of their incomes on transportation as compared to other households,” Solis said. “They also have much less flexibility when it comes to work hours — which means they don’t have a choice when it comes to when they must drive.”
The proposal is part of a “28 by ‘28” initiative to complete 28 road projects in time for the 2028 Olympics. Money raised from a congestion pricing plan could help pay for these projects.
“Congestion pricing has been used in other parts of the world, including London, Stockholm, and Singapore, and has been shown to help relieve traffic and increase vehicle speeds,” according to a Metro report presented Thursday.
The board is expected to vote next month on whether to move forward with studying the feasibility of the proposal. It also Thursday approved two related motions asking for more information about a possible congestion pricing pilot program. One of the motions seeks the development of an equity strategy to minimize the impacts of congestion pricing on low-income drivers.
A congestion pricing plan could face considerable opposition given how expensive it already is to drive in L.A. due to poor road conditions, the high price of gas, high vehicle registration costs and the lack of reliable public transportation options.
A report released last August by the nonprofit transportation group TRIP found that drivers in the L.A. metro area spend almost $3,000 a year in extra costs such as car repairs and wasted fuel because the combination of congestion and deteriorating roads and bridges.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)